2018 was another highly successful year for us, with revenue increasing by 9.8 per cent to EUR 1.6 billion, a new record in the Company’s history. PALFINGER’s sales figures were higher than in previous years; the Group gained market shares, while expanding and consolidating its number-one ranking in lifting solutions.
At the beginning of June, Andreas Klauser was appointed the new CEO of PALFINGER AG, thus completing the management Team.
After a two-year period of restructuring, the major restructuring costs in North America were recorded. Profitability is expected to increase.
The Executive Board presented the new GLOBAL PALFINGER ORGANIZATION (GPO) in September. Starting in 2019, this new organizational structure is designed to promote internal synergies through stronger global cooperation, also across areas, and thus facilitate long-term, profitable growth.
In connection with its new organizational structure, PALFINGER defined financial targets to be met by 2022: revenue growth to EUR 2 billion as well as an EBIT margin of 10 per cent and ROCE of 10 per cent over the economic cycle.
In October, PALFINGER issued new promissory note loans of EUR 80 Million and USD 25 million to optimize its financing structure.
The Austrian Financial Reporting Enforcement Panel (AFREP) found a need for a material impairment of goodwill in the Marine business area in October. PALFINGER has corrected the respective amounts for 2017 and 2018 with retrospective effect.
PALFINGER adopted additional long-term environmental targets to be met by 2030: the improvement of energy efficiency and the reduction of hazardous waste (index) by 30 percentage points each. In addition, 75 per cent of the Group’s electricity is to be generated from renewable energy sources by 2022.
Restructuring in the marine business caused an improvement in EBIT; however, restructuring costs as well as significant one-time and follow-on effects continued to have a negative impact. Performance in relevant customer industries was still very restrained. Restructuring will therefore be continued in 2019.
Furthermore, it is a pleasure to announce that a higher dividend, i.e. EUR 0.51 per share, will be proposed to the Annual General Meeting for distribution.
WE ARE USING OUR POTENTIAL
In 2018, we geared our corporate structure to prepare for future challenges. Our GLOBAL PALFINGER ORGANIZATION has enabled us to reorganize our processes and structures to enhance speed and flexibility in our operations: As a result, we are better prepared to tackle any challenges the future may hold in store.
We have identified many opportunities for organic growth: There is potential for further increasing revenue in our existing markets, and our new products as well as the first smart solutions have been welcomed by our customers. Our business is growing because each and every one of our almost 11,000 employees in 34 countries adds value on a daily basis.